A year has passed since I left the NHS after 34 years. I can’t believe how quickly it has gone! I already had Red Oak Coaching up and running for the past 12 years but it was always part time along with the hours I worked as an Occupational Therapist in mental health for the NHS.
I had lots of worries about leaving the NHS and working full time in my business. I was concerned that I might feel really isolated, especially over the winter months, and miss the daily chat/support with my mental health colleagues. Just having someone sitting alongside you at the desk was often reassuring when things became tough. As a sole trader it was just me at my desk! I learnt to engage a lot more on social media sites and to make sure I booked in time for coffee with friends.
Networking has also played a large part in reducing any of my fears of isolation. Attending breakfast and lunch time events meant I could talk “business” – the aspirations, pitfalls and moans about working on your own.
I also increased my activities and seem to be playing a lot more golf as well as attending exercise classes. It may come across that it’s all enjoyment and interests, but it is not!
The other worry for me was being structured and motivated throughout the week. Yes, it was much more tempting in the summer to do gardening when the sun was shining but I have clear goals on what I want to achieve in my business and being part of a women’s business group has kept me on track.
I admit it has not always been plain sailing and there are some days when it is tough to become motivated and keep focussed. These are the days when I prioritise just three tasks to do and always make sure I go out for a walk during the day.
My biggest concern leaving the NHS was the decrease in money. I do have less money coming in but I just “cut my cloth accordingly”. If I have lost out in money I have certainly gained in time, freedom and health. I have less stress in my life, I choose how I spend my time and if there are deadlines it is because I have chosen them. It’s a win-win situation.
So one year on in full self-employment and I just love it! It’s been a step well worth taking and I can only see it becoming better and better with each passing year J
I'm Karen of Red Oak Coaching and I am passionate about inspiring people to make positive changes in their lives.